28 January 2016

MagLab leader selected to achieve national STEM diversity goals

Roxanne Hughes is working to address the production, retention and career development of female physicists.

Roxanne Hughes.

Roxanne Hughes.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) education, outreach, and diversity director Roxanne Hughes has been invited to serve on the American Physical Society (APS) Committee on the Status of Women in Physics.

Hughes will serve a three-year term starting in January 2016 as a new member of the nine-person board working to address the production, retention and career development of female physicists. Founded nearly 37 years ago, the committee's newest goals focus on increasing the number of women who enroll in and complete undergraduate physics degrees, enhancing professional development opportunities and remedying issues that impact gender inequality in physics.

At the MagLab, Hughes directs education and outreach programs aimed at building the lab's next generation of scientists within the lab's Center for Integrating Research and Learning. The programs include middle school camps, high school and college internships, and research experiences for teachers and undergraduates. The lab's educational programs demonstrate a strong commitment to improving the representation of underrepresented groups including females. In 2014, over half of the students in long-term mentorship, internship and research experience programs at the MagLab were female.

Hughes is also the chair of the MagLab's Diversity Committee, a 22-member interdisciplinary team with representatives from across the lab's three sites. Diversity initiatives focus on implicit bias training for all hiring committees, funding to support recruitment and retention, and seminars that will help the lab build an inclusive environment where all staff, users and students feel respected. Hughes is also a member of the Florida State University Diversity and Inclusion Council.

"I am honored to be invited to serve on this prestigious committee," Hughes said. "The opportunity to work with leaders in this area will help improve my own expertise and ensure the MagLab is leading the way in STEM diversity."

Hughes continues to explore identity issues in the sciences through her own research and was one of only 25 experts invited to create a national research agenda on the underrepresentation of women in engineering and computing in October 2015. Hosted by the American Association of University Women, Hughes and the other experts discussed the impact of implicit gender bias and stereotype threat on career choice, persistence in undergraduate and graduate programs, and the workplace. They also examined evidence-based interventions that increase women's representation in engineering and computing at the K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and career levels.

"We are proud to have one of our lab leaders recognized nationally for addressing the important issue of underrepresented minorities in the sciences," said MagLab Director Greg Boebinger.

Story by Kristin Roberts. Photo by Stephen Bilenky.


The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is the world’s largest and highest-powered magnet facility. Located at Florida State University, the University of Florida and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the interdisciplinary National MagLab hosts scientists from around the world to perform basic research in high magnetic fields, advancing our understanding of materials, energy and life. The lab is funded by the National Science Foundation (DMR-1157490) and the state of Florida. For more information, visit us online at nationalmaglab.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest at NationalMagLab.